Friday, March 2, 2012

IF YOU'RE GOING TO SAN FRANCISCO....... sure not to wear flowers in your hair; especially if you're running an ultra, better to wear compression socks on your feet! Just about to leave for sunny California, again, and with a few days to go and I'm a nervous wreck. 'Why do I do this?' I remember saying to a fellow ultra runner, 'I must be mad' and he nonchalantly replied 'Well of course you're mad, this is not something sane people do', and that just about says it all. The last two weeks of my rather odd taper (in that I didn't really taper), were a combination of nervous 10-15 k tempo runs and cross training wherein I panicked everytime I felt a small twitch in my leg. My physio, Helen, continually worked on my calves and assured me all was well. I  refused to believe her, convincing myself that I was about to fall apart at any moment. This is normal behaviour with everyone before a big race but in my case as a result of my injuries, I felt fully justified in my hysteria.
Cool, California (Small town, Big Race)
      But here I am with a few days to go and I am still in one piece (so maybe she was right) however I've got to get through the 50 k race first, so we will have to wait and see.
      I fly to San Francisco and then drive up to Auburn which is close to the town of Cool. Auburn is the 'Endurance capital of the world' with more ultra events here than anywhere else and 'The Way to Cool 50k' race is one of them and though not as high as my previous ultra's it still has over 6,100 feet of elevation gain. However the main problem, from what I've read, is the mud....well it is to me because I hate mud, it sticks to your feet and its like hauling lead and you slip and your feet get stuck and.....well you get the picture. I can imagine all the ultra runners reading this thinking, he doesn't like mud.....jeez, get over it. Hopefully it will be a bright sunny day and the course will be more forgiving, who knows? Its also the most popular 50k in the world so I've been incredibly fortunate to get in and will therefore make the most of it. I am now into full planning mode with maps to work out possible times, trail conditions, climbs and descents as well as preparing my gels, drinks, food and clothes options. Although planning is very important you have also got to think on your feet and adapt as you go because there are always suprises......and they are very seldom pleasant.
       I just really want to get on with. My goal is to do it in under 7 hours but a lot will depend on any recurring calf problem and/or any other mishap. I feel I'm babbling on now so I have included a quote from an established ultra runner to explain how I am feeling.
The American River near Cool, CA.

    ' Know that you will have pain. Know that it won't be comfortable. Know that you will want to quit. Know that you will get tired. Know that you will get injured. Know that you will get confused. Know that you will meet physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual challenges that you have never even dreamed existed. And know that the true challenge lies in overcoming your innermost fears.'

      Crikey! .....(my sister said it sounds so bad she would prefer to stick hot needles in her eyes) but all the runners go through the same thing, veteran or novice, it really is very hard but thats the challenge. On the flip side its a privelege just to be able to run through such beautiful forests, mountains and canyons on a sunny Saturday morning in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Cool California.


  1. “Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.”
    I think you'll find it easier once you're at the starting line because you've made it there so you know there's no way in hell you're not finishing, none of that pre-race anxiety worry any more. Don't forget that you are Felipe the Magnificent, and you're... Way too Cool to fail. Good luck sir.